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Help Needed: Starting A Collection of Books (Relating To Secret Societies)

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posted on Apr, 6 2008 @ 10:46 PM
I have been very interested in starting a collection of books dealing with secret societies. There is a wealth of information online (ATS, Wikipedia, etc.) but I would like to get some actual books that cover secret societies.

Are there any encyclopedia style books out there that cover secret socities?

Do you have any suggestions on individual books to start a collection?

Are there any good e-books available online that I can download?

Also, if there are any other collectors here, feel free to post your library here!

Any help/advice is greatly appreciated!


[edit on 6-4-2008 by Tha Pope]

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 01:45 AM
Not all specifically secret society material, but mostly related and/or "high weirdness", the following is the list given in Steve Jackson Games' The INWO Book bibliography. It's a variation on the bibliography that was in his original Illuminati game, which I first got around 1989, I think. I started collecting the books on that list shortly thereafter.

So here's a starting place:


The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson*
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon*
Focault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco*
Protocols of the Elders of Zion


A History of Secret Societies by Arkon Darul*
Handbook of Secret Organizations by William Joseph Whalen
The Dictionary of Secret and Other Societies by Arthur Preuss
Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln*
The Illuminoids by Neal Wilgus*
Architets of Fear by George Johnson
JFK the movie directed by Oliver Stone*
Proofs of a Conspiracy by John Robison*
World Revolution by Nesta Webster*
The Book of the Damned and Lo! by Charles Fort*
The Unseen Hand: An Introduction to the Conspiratorial View of History by A. Ralph Epperson
Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science by Martin Gardner*

The ones I've marked with * I either own or have read. (Don't remember if I still own the Darul, though it's a good one, and I've read the Eco but don't own it...)

Obviously that list was pre-Da Vinci Code and I'm sure there are hundreds of others that could get you places...

Others I own include The Secret Societies Handbook by Michael Bradley; Everything is Under Control: Conspiracies, Cults and Cover-Ups by Robert Anton Wilson (which is a really nice, cross-referenced dictionary/encyclopedia of such things). Hmm... I've got other fringe books, but they're probably more occult oriented than secret society. (I know there's a lot of crossover...) Book of Lies edited by Richard Metzger is a good one...

Anyone else?

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 06:52 AM
reply to post by Tha Pope

You'll find lots of esoteric books here:

On the left side, you'll find esoteric/occult and you'll find freemasonry. (look for others like Thelema etc.)

EDIT: Also check out the selection here:

Scroll down to Masonic E-Book Library. You'll find lots of titles here as well, including the ever useful Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.

PS: JoshNorton, i couldn't help noticing that you listed Holy Blood, Holy Grail, World Revolution, Proofs of a Conspiracy, and quite a few others as non-fictional works...

[edit on 7/4/08 by ConspiracyNut23]

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 09:13 AM

Originally posted by ConspiracyNut23
PS: JoshNorton, i couldn't help noticing that you listed Holy Blood, Holy Grail, World Revolution, Proofs of a Conspiracy, and quite a few others as non-fictional works!
Well, it wasn't my categorization... just what I was transcribing. I'll frame it this way: the authors considered them non-fiction when they wrote them, or at least purported to. In fact a big reason the HBHG authors lost their plagiarism suit against Dan Brown was because they'd tried to push off their theories as "fact"... If they're claiming historical accuracy, how can they even pretend exclusivity for the ideas they're putting forth?

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 09:41 AM

Originally posted by ConspiracyNut23
i couldn't help noticing that you listed Holy Blood, Holy Grail, World Revolution, Proofs of a Conspiracy, and quite a few others as non-fictional works...

Oh man, if only we still had WATS.

John Robison's and Nesta H. Webster's works must be taken with the proverbial handful of salt.

Nearly every conspiracy theory out there uses one or the other as a reference, and both have been shown to be suspect. From there it's a domino effect and you get sites like and that use circular references that ALL point back to one or the other of these authors.

Neither are considered "credible" references to academic researchers. It's like saying Jack Chick or Bill Shnoebelen are credible by comparison.

IMHO the only thing that makes for an interesting coincidence is that Barruel and Robison published books on the same topic at the same time (ostensibly) without either having knowledge of the other. Not surprising though, if you consider the events of that time.

I'm not saying you shouldn't read them, or even purchase them for your library (I would), just commenting on their veracity.

[edit on 4/7/08 by The Axeman]

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 09:50 AM
reply to post by The Axeman

It is quite strange that Steve Jackson Games considers these works non-fiction.

JoshNorton made a good point about HBHG, why would these authors claim their work to be historical at the time of sale (when it was a bestseller) and then when another bestseller (da vinci code) comes out, they claim exclusivity on the material?!?

strange... (I must admit while reading Da Vinci code, most or all the exposition scenes were taken directly from HBHG)

[edit on 7/4/08 by ConspiracyNut23]

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 09:55 AM
reply to post by ConspiracyNut23

This is part of the reason I don't get in line with their theory. I think they made some good points, but, in the end... not enough.

Same with Knight and Lomas.

P.S. The potential is there for any "layman" to see them as non-fiction. Not surprising. Sad, but not surprising.

[edit on 4/7/08 by The Axeman]

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 10:55 AM
Sure, there are a number of them that are suspect. I've got a copy of Occult Theocracy too, and IIRC, that's the one that most antis turn to when they want to bash Albert Pike. I'll add some more tonight. Of course Steve Jackson Games is appealing to the fringe crowd, tongue firmly planted in cheek. It's the whole point of those games to see how absurd the chains of power could be, if you believed such things. I've got a handful of other stuff from SJG that may have some other book lists as well. I'll see if I can post them tonight or in the next few days. And their take on the fiction vs non-fiction is a little more spelled out, but I only transcribed the authors and titles because that's what the OP was looking for... a list of books.

As a Mason now, and knowing what I've learned in becoming a Mason, it does feel rather odd having to go to the shelf in the bookstore that's got all the spell books, Atlantis theories, UFO sightings, and other things that get rolled into the catchall title "New Age". When did the ideal of treating people fairly become a fringe belief?

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 11:01 AM

Originally posted by JoshNorton
When did the ideal of treating people fairly become a fringe belief?

Best I can figure, roundabout Jan 20, 2001.

[edit on 4/7/08 by The Axeman]

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 12:03 PM

Originally posted by Tha Pope
Are there any encyclopedia style books out there that cover secret socities?

What are you really trying to learn about? Social groups that do odd things and often have structural hierarchies, or actual spirituality/enlightenment, which is the goal of many/most of them?

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 01:05 PM
link has over 100 million used, new, and rare books you are sure to

find what you are looking for there. Here is a link to the site. I typed in

freemasonry and here is what came up

[edit on 7-4-2008 by greydawn]

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 02:19 PM
Liber AL vel Legis (The Book of the Law) by Aleister Crowley.

Full transcript here:

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 03:06 PM
I haven't seen this one mentioned on the board as of yet.

The Secret History of the World: As Laid Down by the Secret Societies by Mark Booth.

I own and have read this one. It's largely about esoteric philosophy, but the secret societies play a primary role in it's discussion.

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 04:09 PM
in regards to the OP's request, i just uploaded an e-book called 'the secret teachings of all ages'

which can be gotten here

edit to add: forgot to mention, i can upload some more esoteric type books if needed

edit to add(again, so sorry): i got all of my books at this place
the speeds are a little slow, so i could upload the ones i have with faster speeds if (as stated before) needed
[edit on 4/7/2008 by gkgoten100]

[edit on 4/7/2008 by gkgoten100]

posted on May, 31 2008 @ 04:31 PM
René Le Forestier, Les Illuminés de Bavière et la Franc-Maçonnerie Allemande [Paris: 1914], Archè reprint, 2001.

  • The best book, as well as the most authoritative and complete, on the Bavarian Illuminati that has ever been written, in any language. Even the German professors today (the ones who specialize in Bavarian Illuminati history) are in unanimous agreement. As am I.

____, La Franc-Maçonnerie Templière et Occultiste aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles, Aubier-Montaigne, 1970.

  • René Le Forestier's last book. It was edited and published posthumously by the renowned French occult historian, Antoine Faivre; cited by scholars as Le Forestier's masterpiece. I don't think there has ever been a single individual as well-versed in all the intricacies of the Masonic occult branches and competing systems of the 18th- and 19th-Century: the Templar-obsessed Strict Observance in all its offshoots, nomenclature and panoply; Les Philalèthes of Savalette de Langes (now a confirmed member of the Illuminati); Les Chevalier Bienfaisants of J.B. Willermoz; the Chefdebien Philadelphes of Narbonne; Les Illuminés d'Avignon of Dom Pernety; the Order of African Architects of Carl Friedrich Köppen; the Golden and Rosy Cross, the antagonists of the Bavarian Illuminati; the Elus-Cohen (Elect Priests) of Martinez de Pasqually; the "Martinism" of both Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin and Pasqually; and the Sabbatean/Frankist-tinged, Rosicrucian offshoot, the Asiatic Brethren, headed by the Illuminists Landgrave Karl von Hessen-Kassel and Ferdinand Duke von Brunswick, etc., etc.

Benjamin Fabre, Un Initié des sociétés secrètes supérieures: "Franciscus, eques a capite Galeato" 1753-1814, Portrait et Documents inédits Nombreuses reproductions en Photogravure, (Paris: La Renaissance Française, 1913).

  • Invaluable. Includes the masonic secret society (and Illuminati) correspondences and personal documents of François-Marie Marquis de Chefdebien d'Armissan (1753-1814), one of the highest ranking and most well-connected and powerful Masons during the 18th Century; the co-founder - with dad and brothers - of the Narbonne Primitive Rite of the Philadelphes; and now proven to have been an initiate of the Illuminati (insinuated by JJC Bode during his trip to Paris in 1787). Franciscus, eques a capite Galeato, was his alias or pseudonym in the Rite of Strict Observance. He was one of the 35 deputies during the fateful Freemasonic Wilhelmsbad Convention of 1782.

Charles William Heckethorn, The Secret Societies of All Ages & Countries, 2 Vols., (London: 1897).

  • Still unsurpassed, in my opinion. This is probably THE recommendation you've been looking for. Encyclopedic and authoritative, and generally fair in its treatment. There's thousands of entries, representing almost every secret society that has existed.

Nesta Webster, Secret Societies & Subversive Movements [London: 1924], A & B Publishers Group, 1998.

  • If you can ignore her sometimes derogatory remarks towards the Jewish race (not too overly hostile, though), this is indeed an essential work. The entire gamut is covered, her citations are valuable, and her treatment of the various subjects is thorough. She did her research in the library at the London Museum (practically living there for years) so she had easy access to the most prized volumes in all the world.

    [Skip Michael Howard's 1989, The Occult Conspiracy, and get the above-cited Webster volume instead. Seriously. Much of the same material is covered but Howard's skills as a "scholar" frequently only resemble ineptitude.]

Frances Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment [London: 1972], Routledge Classics, 2002.

  • Probably still the single best volume on the Rosicrucians, if you only had a chance to read one. The original Fama Fraternitatis manifestos of the early 1600s, announcing the presence of the Rosicrucians, are reproduced in their entirety as appendixes at the end.

Christopher McIntosh, The Rosicrucians: The History, Mythology, and Rituals of an Esoteric Order, Weiser Books; 3 Revised edition (1998).

  • Together with Yates, McIntosh completes the two essential volumes on the Rosicrucians.

    [I don't recommend A. E. Waite's book on them, simply because he relied too much upon the myths that "occultists" had written about Order; good for a perusal, but it is far surpassed by the scholarly treatment of Yates and McIntosh.]

____, The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason: Eighteenth-Century Rosicrucianism in Central Europe and Its Relationship to the Enlightenment [1992], (Brill: 1997).

  • Christopher McIntosh's PhD thesis-turned-book. This is one of the most coveted volumes in 18th Century studies. Brill let it go out of print and so now some dweeb on both Amazon and Abebooks is selling a copy of it for $1,300! The people who own the book will never part with it, so when it went out of print it immediately became as scarce as an antiquarian volume.

    It is the only volume entirely on the 18th Century Golden and Rosy Cross (Gold- und Rosenkreuzer), the powerful mystico-conservative secret society who became antagonists of the Bavarian Illuminati. They had full control of obscurantist Prussia after Frederick the Great had died. Frederick William II was an initiate and a complete pawn of the Order. All of Central Europe, in fact, was infested with their cells or 9-man "circles"; they had even extended themselves into Russia and all the way to the border of China!

James Webb, The Occult Underground (1974) and The Occult Establishment (1976).

  • Scholarly and ambitious in its scope: the occult underground hidden history from the enlightenment to the 1960s. This 2-volume extravaganza should be in the library of every researcher of secret societies and occultism. He covers a lot of ground, everything from Spiritualism to the occult revival in 19th century France to Theosophy to Nazi occultism, the New Thought Movement, and good coverage of the anti-semitic and anti-christian stream at the heart of the theories of some famous and not-so-famous occultists and/or secret society initiates.

[edit on 31-5-2008 by Fire_In_The_Minds_of_Men]

posted on May, 31 2008 @ 05:22 PM

This site is a free ebook site where people upload them and stuff so others can read/download them. I got a Gnostic Bible, The Works of H.P. Lovecraft and some book about Helena Blavatsky...dunno who she is but I was hungry for knowledge :p

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